WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1009, by Peter J. Tomasi, Christian Duce, Luis Guerrero, and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
Actor George Clooney's time as the Caped Crusader in 1997's Batman & Robin isn't fondly remembered. Director Joel Schumacher's movie buried the franchise for nearly a decade after its overwhelmingly negative reception, with much emphasis put on the rubber nipples on the Batsuits, cringy Bat credit card and hammy performances.
Now, DC's Detective Comics #1009 slyly weighs on Clooney's tenure as the Dark Knight. It's a rather apt, as the "Take Your Shot" storyline also features Mr. Freeze, another tragic victim of Batman & Robin.
Sitting in a presentation at the headquarters of Gotham National Bank, Bruce Wayne listens to Lucius Fox discuss Wayne Enterprises' environmental initiative. The billionaire playboy admits he's bored by Fox's performance but the plan will go ahead. Before heading for the exit, Wayne tells Fox: "And, buddy, I want you to taking an acting class. Pronto." He adds, "Call Clooney. He owes me."
It's a subtle but obvious nod to Clooney's unsuccessful tenure in the cape and cowl. After almost single-handedly ending the Dark Knight's big-screen adventures, maybe the actor still does owe Batman a favor or two.
To his credit, though, Clooney has apologized for the movie, and provided an honest assessment of his role in the whole debacle.
"[Arnold] Schwarzenegger was paid, I think, $25 million for that, which was like 20 times more than I was paid for it, and, you know, we never even worked together! We worked together one day," Clooney recalled earlier this year. "But I took all the heat. Now, fair deal; I was playing Batman and I wasn't good in it, and it wasn't a good film, but what I learned from that failure was, I had to rethink how I was working. Because now I wasn't just an actor getting a role, I was being held responsible for the film itself."
His career hasn't suffered too much, as he's received five Golden Globe Awards and two Academy Awards, while going on to become one of the most successful filmmakers of his generation. Despite all the negatives and meme-worthy moments, he credits Batman & Robin for being the biggest influence on his career.
"It's really easy to pick: Batman & Robin. That's not a joke," he revealed. "Up until that moment, I was an actor only concerned with finding work. After the failure of that film creatively, I understood that I needed to take control of the films I made, not just the role. My next three films were Out of Sight, Three Kings and O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
While Bruce Wayne's Clooney comment in Detective Comics #1009 is a tongue-in-cheek dig at the actor's Caped Crusader, it's also delightful meta reference that shows the whole Batman Universe is connected -- the good, the bad and the ugly nipples. Overall, it's welcome to see that everyone can reflect on Batman & Robin and still have a laugh about the disastrous movie 22-years later.